The Aftermath of the Rolling Stone’s Article on UVA’s Rape Culture

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Earlier today, Rolling Stone issued an apology for reporting inaccuracies in an article published two weeks ago titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA.” The article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, recounted the experience of a girl named Jackie who claimed to be raped at UVA her freshman year at a fraternity party hosted by Phi Kappa Psi. It also provided commentary on general rape culture at UVA and college universities.

Since then, numerous discrepancies of the account have cropped up. According to The Washington Post, the man in question does not seem to be a member of that particular fraternity, nor was an event held that night. Rolling Stone, in deference to the nature of these claims, did not reach out to the alleged rapists before printing the story, something they apologized for.

After that article was published, UVA has come under fire from numerous sources, as has the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. Actions like suspending fraternity activity on campus and instituting a zero tolerance policy have occurred.

However, the Rolling Stone article went beyond merely Jackie’s account. The Rolling Stone article discusses the issue of rape in general at UVA, as well as what the culture is like. Facts like the school being under investigation through Title XI is still true (though lets not forget that 85 other schools were also under investigation at the time). Other rape victims also shared their story in the article.

The Rolling Stone article was not meant to be an attack on UVA, but general rape culture in universities. Inaccuracies in one account of the proceedings does not eliminate the problem of rape culture, nor should it make it harder for other victims to come forth. Does UVA have a problem? Should we have stricter rules in place at campuses? Are fraternities the source of the problem? The debate on these and other questions over should not end over this. Let’s look beyond these inaccuracies and at the real problem of the state of sexual assault in campuses across America.

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